Since acquiring the Grosmont Venture leases in 2006, Shell has been carrying out appraisal and exploration activities, including seismic and drilling, to better understand the resource.
The lease property is situated on the far-west side of the Athabasca oil sands region - approximately 140 km west of Ft. McMurray, and approximately 400 km north of Edmonton.
As part of the Grosmont Venture, Shell is proposing to carry out a pilot to test proprietary in situ technology and verify hydrocarbon resources. The In situ Upgrading Process (IUP) is a bitumen recovery technology developed by Shell that heats the oil sands reservoir with electrical heaters to convert the bitumen into lighter crude oil and gas while still underground. Shell applied for regulatory approval for the “North Field Test” in November 2007.
The North Field Test is likely to last several years. The primary objectives of this test are to evaluate different heater well designs, directional drilling techniques, deployment methods, drilling rigs, and surface support systems.
The earliest a decision to be made on a commercial development would be early in the next decade, and possibility later depending on the sequence and outcome of research, appraisal and testing activities. Meanwhile, we will continue to pursue further appraisal and testing activities.
Since acquiring the Grosmont Venture leases, Shell has been consulting with Bigstone Cree Nation and local stakeholders. Shell is also continuing studies and local initiatives to ensure Shell's appraisal, testing and development activities are undertaken in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
The Grosmont Venture also includes the Woodenhouse prospect, which consists of approximately 85,000 acres immediately adjacent to the Grosmont leases. Woodenhouse is part of the asset group that Shell acquired from BlackRock Ventures Inc. in 2006